My DIY keyboard collection ( or how I became a KB-geek...)

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philpirj

05 Dec 2012, 11:57

Want to share my findings on trackpoints:
https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10063 5dir (x,y,click), smd, $2. no rubber nub, probably one of lenovo wil fit, not sure.
https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11187 same with board, $6
https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9032 thumb stick with rubber dome, $4, arduino code example given

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10835 hall effect joystick with click, relatively cheap for hall effect ones ($20)

I've also ordered c&k components TSW and JS1300AQ 'joysticks', ($10 and $2), but pretty sure they are not 'analog', and can only provide direction, not pressure force. first one comes with jog wheel though.

So probably if any case you run out of used thinkpads, you can go for one of these options.

User avatar
suka
frobiac

05 Dec 2012, 12:16

philpirj wrote:Want to share my findings on trackpoints:
.... So probably if any case you run out of used thinkpads, you can go for one of these options.
Thanks for the links - but only the last one seems usable as a trackpoint ( the first to are merely switches arranged in a square, the analog one is too hard to use - I already tried in one of my earliest designs )

If it wasn't for the price I would just order one immediately :D But definately something I'll keep my eyes on, especially with its small footprint and I2C protocol.

User avatar
uberben

05 Dec 2012, 15:57

I'm working with the mini hall effect joysticks in my current mod. I designed my own, smaller breakout board and got the joysticks on sample from the manufacturer (only had to pay duty). My original plan was to put this thing next to the keys on my Kinesis, but i think I could probably fit it between the switched, either sitting on the switch casings or under the panel with an extension stick, though I feel an extension might not work well with a sliding joystick. Either way, I'm thinking of 3D printing an adapter, long or short, that will allow TrackPoint nubs to fit on it.

I haven't hooked them up or started coding yet, (first step is to get the keyboard working) but will post back here once I have something working.

User avatar
tlt

06 Dec 2012, 19:42

It would be really interesting to know if the hall effect joystick makes a good trackpoint replacement with an extension stick. No one has found a source for new good trackpoints and we need something for custom keyboard builds.

User avatar
philpirj

07 Dec 2012, 15:41

tlt: Comments page to the joystick says that that one was used in dell laptops, so PH102 caps (track stick cover) will fit. Ebay shows some results for around $5. Good thing is that sparkfun have discount up to $15 for 100+ qty, it's cheaper than an average mouse.

User avatar
uberben

07 Dec 2012, 17:13

philpirj wrote:tlt: Comments page to the joystick says that that one was used in dell laptops, so PH102 caps (track stick cover) will fit. Ebay shows some results for around $5.
I think you misread. Someone was asking if they were the same as in Dell laptops, and the answer was no. I have a laptop with TrackPoint and some of these hall effect joysticks and I can assure you the caps will not fit without some form of adapter (which I plan to make, eventually). Caps can be found on AliExpress for < $3 (free shipping) for 10 caps. http://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?Sea ... 0&manual=y
philpirj wrote:Good thing is that sparkfun have discount up to $15 for 100+ qty, it's cheaper than an average mouse.
The joysticks can be obtained directly from Austria Microsystems, the manufacturer, as samples (in small quantities). I designed a breakout board for them that is much smaller than the sparkfun one for < $1 each. I think it could be made even smaller (either by filing down this one or making a new, more condensed one) so that it can fit between the keys. https://www.dropbox.com/s/8xsbzfmdwcjk4 ... .56.55.jpg
Last edited by uberben on 11 Dec 2012, 19:39, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
tlt

07 Dec 2012, 20:14

How much does it have to slide? That question is how well it will work to have a long adapter stick and how big the cutouts of the keycups need to be. A regular trackpoint doesn't slide and tilts very little. I guess this is by design so that it will work between keycaps with the point just a little smaller then the hole, just leaving minimum gaps.

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uberben

07 Dec 2012, 20:19

It comes in three sizes and mine (and Sparkfun's) is the smallest. It has very little travel, just a bit more than a Trackpoint. I don't think the cap cutouts would have to be much bigger than for a TrackPoint, if at all.

User avatar
suka
frobiac

10 Feb 2013, 21:23

As mentioned in the HyperMini thread, I took a break developing split keyboards and instead opted for an absolute minimal layout. It has already proven to be sufficient for me, but I'm interested to see how it will work out:

Image

Firmware on github is updated, but nothing really important changed since my BlueCube development, apart from cleanup and restructuring of some code.

I'll post updates on how this layout works as soon as I have developed a feel for this board, but in the meantime I have a few leftover plastic frames - nothing fancy, more or less just mounting plates in slightly different arrangements and or dimensions. If there is serious interest, I'd be willing to give 'em away, in case somebody wants to experiments with this arrangement, too. PM me if you need more information.

Aleksander

10 Feb 2013, 21:49

that looks awesome!

jeff

10 Feb 2013, 22:18

From now on, I always thought that 3D printing was too expensive for my keyboard tests. I looked for a cheapest solution and, as I'm not really sure of what I'm looking for, the 3D printing creation cycle seems to long to me. I mostly tried to use metal sheet, my work is not graceful.

I must admit that your results are really impressive. Genuinely imaginative and very well finished.

Keep going on.

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Jim66

10 Feb 2013, 22:35

Impressive as always. They look pretty light weight, don't they move around a lot on the desk?

User avatar
suka
frobiac

10 Feb 2013, 22:52

jeff wrote:... I always thought that 3D printing was too expensive for my keyboard tests. I looked for a cheapest solution and, as I'm not really sure of what I'm looking for, the 3D printing creation cycle seems to long to me.
I think the price is pretty reasonable once you down-size your designs so that only the minimal height is being 3D-printed - in this case the simple mounting plate with about 6mm would have been sufficient as I intend to put a wooden case around it anyway. And the time it takes to be build is definitely not bad once you have the necessary CAD sources and skills acquired.
Jim66 wrote:Impressive as always. They look pretty light weight, don't they move around a lot on the desk?
Thanks - you're right, I just measured a mere 220g or 7.5ounces, including the cable. But with the adhesive rubber foam patches I generously applied to the temporary bottom plate I noticed no issues with it sliding around so far.

User avatar
tlt

11 Feb 2013, 08:34

Looks very nice! I'm planing something similar with the same staggering but without the gap around the track point and with a scroll wheel for the thumb. Is the profile a little curved? It's hard to see in this picture.

User avatar
sordna

11 Feb 2013, 16:35

Has anyone gotten the N35P112 hall effect joystick to work with a teensy? I'm looking for a firmware code sample that makes it work as a mouse.

User avatar
Icarium

11 Feb 2013, 16:36

sordna: Just curious: Why don't you use a regular trackpoint?

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tlt

11 Feb 2013, 17:10

Where do you get a new good track point? Everyone seems to be harvesting them from old boards.

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Icarium

11 Feb 2013, 18:34

Fair point...

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uberben

11 Feb 2013, 18:45

sordna wrote:Has anyone gotten the N35P112 hall effect joystick to work with a teensy? I'm looking for a firmware code sample that makes it work as a mouse.
I got my custom EasyPoint joystick hooked up to an avr micro and working with some demo code, but I haven't had a chance to do the mapping from the joystick info to mouse commands. So far I've been using Hasu's tmk firmware, so I just need to figure out how to shoehorn my mouse driver code into it. Unfortunately I have way too many projects going on to make steady progress on them all.

My hackerspace is also getting a hobby 3D printer, so I'm hoping to print up some EasyPoint to TrackPoint cap adapters once that arrives. I'll be releasing the design files at that time.

User avatar
suka
frobiac

18 Feb 2013, 21:56

The wooden frame around my HyperNano took me longer than expected, but I'm kind of happy with it now and have colored a bunch of keycaps in the meantime to find a pleasant color scheme to go with it.
Top
Top
_top_v1.JPG (173.27 KiB) Viewed 5872 times
Side
Side
_side_v1.JPG (207.07 KiB) Viewed 5872 times
I also I put an acrylic baseplate on and finally added a proper mini usb socket - no the most beautiful attachment, but it works.
Bottom
Bottom
_bottom_v1.JPG (173.67 KiB) Viewed 5872 times
On the software side of things, I ported the mousekey support from tmk_firmware and am quite surprised how well it works with the right settings - especially for emulating a scrollwheel as recently discussed on the HyperMini thread (if I didn't have that functionality with the trackpoint already I'd miss this sorely by now). By the way, I seriously consider switching to that amazing firmware altogether in the near future, seems to be a lot more advanced than my hackish attempts, with a bunch of nifty features I'll find hard to implement.

Other than that I've been typing for almost a week on this little beast and am impressed how pleasant the layout is: No comparison to a split and tented setup which I'd much prefer, but the symmetric 1/4 stagger together with larger than usual hand separation makes it more natural for me to type on than on a standard desktop keyboard.

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metalliqaz

19 Feb 2013, 02:55

This is an amazing.

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fydo

19 Feb 2013, 23:18

Wow, that looks amazing. Nice work!

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philpirj

20 Feb 2013, 12:20

Looks like the best day-to-day DIY keyboard, perfect in every aspect.

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bearcat

21 Feb 2013, 18:08

I registered with Deskthority just to post on this thread; these are amazing, and thank you very much for posting them!

I have a mill and i'm going to try cutting some grids this weekend. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

I'm a little concerned about the 14mm^2 holes; as i'm using a mill, it's tough to get sharp corners on inside pockets, and the cherry's have most of the "lip" on the corner. Did you have any trouble with the fit on any of the early prototypes? Or does the extra rigidity from the PCB below take up any slack or wobble?

User avatar
suka
frobiac

21 Feb 2013, 18:47

bearcat wrote:Did you have any trouble with the fit on any of the early prototypes? Or does the extra rigidity from the PCB below take up any slack or wobble?
Since it is 3D-printed, all corners of the cut-outs are rectangular - don't know what the tolerances of the switches are if you mill it.
There is no PCB in my designs! Just the plastic frame however is stable enough to support the whole keyboard, especially since it it enclosed in a frame.

User avatar
uberben

21 Feb 2013, 19:05

Suka: I got your prototypes yesterday. Very interesting stuff. (Also, impressive packing job getting all that stuff into that tiny box). The curvature of the key well in the smoothly curved sample is a bit steeper than my Kinesis. I might have to try populating it (or a slightly modified version) to get a real feel for it.

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calavera

21 Feb 2013, 20:15

OMG I WANT ONE!

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yakitori

22 Feb 2013, 06:08

Great.

imp

24 Feb 2013, 02:50

bearcat wrote: I have a mill and i'm going to try cutting some grids this weekend. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

I'm a little concerned about the 14mm^2 holes; as i'm using a mill, it's tough to get sharp corners on inside pockets, and the cherry's have most of the "lip" on the corner. Did you have any trouble with the fit on any of the early prototypes? Or does the extra rigidity from the PCB below take up any slack or wobble?
You don't need to overcut the corners if your bit is small enough.
I did this boards long time ago with a 2mm bit and had no problem with inserting the switches. If you take a close look at the corners in the image, they are not perfect :).
Spoiler:
tasta v0.1
tasta v0.1
100_5732.jpg (345.3 KiB) Viewed 5636 times
The plates are 2x 4mm wood glued together after cutting them. Oh, and don't do the wiring that way, it broke way to fast (it's better to use enamelled copper wire).

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bearcat

25 Feb 2013, 19:52

Whoa, that's great! Definitely gonna have to give it a go. Didn't get to it this weekend but have been playing around in openscad getting the model ready.
imp wrote: You don't need to overcut the corners if your bit is small enough.
I did this boards long time ago with a 2mm bit and had no problem with inserting the switches.
Mind if i ask: what is the separation you're using between holes? E.g., a 14mm^2 hole separated by 3mm? 4? what's normal?

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